Bristol Energy Cooperative has been installing green energy in Bristol since 2012. Our latest project is a hydro-electric scheme at Netham Weir in the heart of commercial Bristol.
With climate change posing a greater threat than ever, this will contribute to Bristol’s 2030 carbon neutrality target.
The first phase of Crowdfunding raised £18,000 and enabled further development work to proceed such as fitting of a level gauge in the river. The second phase aims to increase the fundraise total to £30,000 allowing the project to progress to the tendering stage through completion of the following work:
- Detailed river flow studies, including analysis of river level data from the new level gauge.
- Signing off the detailed fish pass design with the Environment Agency.
- Detailed construction drawings needed for tendering the main contract.
- Taking two European grant applications to the next stage (not Brexit dependent!)
- Investigating the best financial instruments for the main fund raise.
When all development works are completed, the project will open to investors for a main raise of approximately £2m to fund the construction costs. As a contributor to this crowdfund, you will have the first opportunity to invest in the scheme at construction phase.
Netham Weir will be a micro hydro power station, an increasingly popular technology across the UK and internationally. It uses the natural force of the water falling across the weir to spin a turbine, without the need for building a large reservoir.
The project will use existing tried and trusted twin Archimedes screw turbine technology with a combined 300kW output, enough to power 250 typical homes. The scheme will run night and day throughout the year, with peak output in winter.
Bristol Energy Coop has been building community owned renewable energy schemes since 2012 and currently generates 9 million kWh (units) of electricity per year, enough to power 2,200 typical homes.
The Coop currently operates solar PV arrays on buildings across Bristol and surrounding areas along with 2 solar farms. A mixture of energy sources is required to replace fossil fuels and the Coop is using its experience to bring hydro power to Bristol.
£11 million has been so far been invested in the Coop’s various projects, much by local people and businesses. More than £250,000 of profits has so far been distributed to local community projects. More information can be found at www.bristolenergy.coop.
The government has closed down the Feed In Tariff scheme (FiTs) which supported new renewable energy installations like this hydro scheme. However, this doesn’t have to stop the roll-out of new green energy and the Coop is determined to demonstrate that new renewable energy projects are still financially feasible. This will be the Coop’s first large energy project without FiTs and probably the first such hydro scheme in the UK for many years.
With a Climate Emergency declared in Bristol, the Coop considers it important to progress this project and do so as quickly as is sensibly possible. Many more renewable energy schemes are necessary to achieve carbon neutrality and they will need to be developed under the prevailing economic conditions. The Coop is committed to using lessons learned from the Netham Weir scheme to keep the pipeline of community energy projects flowing.
Example of a similar sized hydro scheme
This crowdfunding is paying for the remaining development stages. It is being split into a series of smaller raises in order to keep development work progressing. The first Crowdfund round raised £18,352 against a target of £10,000. The second round target is to take this up to £30,000 and prepare the project for the construction stage.
Any money raised above £30k will go towards a third phase of crowdfunding (if needed) and/ or construction costs. If for any reason the hydro scheme does not get built (which is a possibility with any development), then any funds not already spent will be deployed in the development of other renewable schemes.
Many thanks for your support.
Bristol Energy Coop Team